Created For God’s Glory

Who are You, Lord?

June 2007, in the process of changing jobs, I had a two-month gap in my employment. I considered it unacceptable but it can’t be helped.

There were a lot of things I thought of doing, but for some reason I didn’t do what I would have typically done. Instead, I became curious about things I never paid attention to. I was too busy with school and then with work so I didn’t have time to stop and think about life.

Oddly, I wanted to know more about God. I didn’t know what I wanted to know. It just felt like there was something important about God that I had to know but I wasn’t sure because I didn’t know what I needed to know. The feeling was subtle and non-urgent so it could be easily dismissed if I had other more important things to do.

I squinted at the white cottony clouds in the sky, “Are You really that way?” — Distant. Looking down from heaven with raised eyebrows and crossed arms. Recording every action and every word of mankind. Eager to punish every wrongdoing.

I only knew Jesus from Bible stories taught in school. I considered Him as loving, gentle, and gracious contrary to God the Father who I perceived as stern and unapproachable. Then there was little information taught about the Holy Spirit.

How can I get to heaven when I die? I’m afraid to die because I don’t think I’d go to heaven.

They say only good people will go to heaven. But how is it that those who are considered “good”, like priests and nuns, are also uncertain of their destination.

I’m not a good person because I know I am the most ill-tempered in our clan. I have done a lot of wicked things though not as evil as criminals. I don’t think I can be good because it’s difficult to be good. So what will happen to me?

Created For God's Glory

Is There More to Life Than This?

I was raised in a Catholic family in a predominantly Catholic country. My siblings and I went to Catholic schools from grade school through college. Most of my beliefs and what I know about my religion came from school rather than my family or the church.

In college, I found some discrepancies between the Catholic Bible and what is taught in school and in the church. One of which is the teaching about the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20.

I expected to read something familiar but I froze when I got to the second commandment: You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

I scanned the title page and found the imprimatur of the Catholic church. But why is this part of the Bible different from what we memorized in school? Did someone alter the teachings of the church and no one is aware of it? Surely, the Catholic church has a valid explanation.

I dismissed my questions because I had no one to clarify it with.

But more than answers to specific questions about my faith, I wanted to make sense of everything. I wanted to know what life is really all about. Do we live only to study, graduate, make money, get married, raise kids, grow old, then die? Is this all there is to life? These are common pursuits in life but to what end if we can bring none of these to the grave?

Is there really more that can and should be known about Jesus?

Where Do I Find Answers?

Despite attending a Catholic school and following practices of our religion, I never considered myself religious. I’d go to church only when adults initiate or when required in school. I’d remember to pray only when I need something from God.

But this time, I started going to church on my own. I listened attentively to sermons and became aware of the lyrics of songs in hope of finding answers which may be hidden somewhere.

One Sunday, I went to the church office and inquired how I can volunteer as a lector — a parish layperson who publicly reads a Bible passage, other than the Gospel, during liturgy.

The elder lady advised me to join the choir, told me the meeting time and place, then quickly went back to what she was doing.

But . . . I want to be a lector. I don’t want to sing; I want to read. 😭 Is it because I look like a teenager?!

I had hoped to have access to the priests and other clergies, and use the readings as an opportunity to ask about the Bible, the interpretation of passages, and clarifications about Catholic teachings.

Nevertheless, I decided to attend the choir meeting thinking maybe all volunteers could easily approach a priest to ask about theological questions. After two meetings, I had proven choir is not my thing so I stopped attending.

Then someone (a cousin or a friend) told me about a novena in a parish near our apartment. It was every Thursday but it always seemed like a regular Sunday Mass overflowing with youth and young adults.

I regularly attended the Mass and novena all throughout that year, but I found nothing new and my questions remained unanswered. I didn’t know where to go, who to ask, and even what question to ask. I wasn’t sure if there was more to seek than just those rituals.

God Answers Through His Word

In God’s providence, He had prepared an answer for me even before I asked. At the end of that two months, I met four Christian co-trainees. As soon as they introduced themselves as Christians, I knew they were the right persons to ask.

I was never inclined to asking questions about faith from other religions because I firmly believed my religion is the truth. But the Lord had changed my perception toward Christians when I met someone who had a genuine character.

One day, one of them took me aside and told me she has something important to tell me.

Whoa! This must be the answer I’ve been searching for!

She took out a colored booklet with no words in it then told me a story. A story about a loving God who created mankind but mankind sinned against Him. Because of sin, they’re condemned to eternal punishment but because of God’s unfailing love He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross as payment for sins. . .

Uh. . . Why is she telling me the Gospel? Is this it? Won’t she tell me something I don’t already know?

Catholics also believe that there is one God in three Persons, that the Bible is God’s Word, and that Jesus came to save mankind from sin. Since childhood, I believe that Jesus is God and the Savior of all.

But there were significant details I wasn’t aware of and didn’t understand even after the Gospel was presented to me and I was led to pray.

It was only when I regularly read and studied the Bible using devotional books, attended a Bible study group and listened to Bible based preaching that I gradually understood the message of salvation through Christ alone.

Through this message of salvation, I found answers to my questions and finally made sense of life.

If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. Jeremiah 29:13

Created for God’s Glory

God created man in His image to share His love with us, for us to love Him back and give Him glory through that intimate relationship.

Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God until they disobeyed Him. Disobedience is sin and sin is rebellion against God. Sin severed their relationship with God and resulted to death — eternal separation from God.

This problem of sin is not just their problem but everyone’s. For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard.

God’s standard is holiness because He is holy. The idea behind the concept of holiness is “separation.” God is separate or cut off from everything that is sinful and evil. He is without sin and does not tolerate sin. Thus, the relationship was severed.

God is also just. He does not leave the guilty unpunished. The payment for sin is death. None can earn salvation with good deeds because God requires perfect holiness. Therefore, everyone is condemned to eternal separation from God. But this isn’t God’s intention for creating us.

So God made a way. Out of His unfailing love for us, He made a way.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, left His throne in heaven, came into the world, lived a holy life and willingly sacrificed Himself on the Cross as payment for our sins so that everyone who trusts in His finished work will not perish but have eternal life.

Those who put their trust in Jesus as the only savior are not righteous in themselves, but God has put them in Christ. So when God the Father looks at them, He sees Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Therefore, through Christ’s holy life and sacrifice on the Cross, we can be made holy and be reconciled back to God.

Christ’s sacrifice restores the original intention of God in creating us — to give Him glory and enjoy Him forever.

But for us to receive that reconciliation, we need to repent of our sins and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

The real meaning of life / the purpose of our existence, both now and in eternity, is found in the restoration of our relationship with God. He made us for Himself so He alone can fill and satisfy our heart and soul.

For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

A personal testimony of Ma. Olivia Jill Temporal. Learn more about her on the Author’s page.

Read the whole series about her life story:

Who Will Go for Jesus?

When Did We Become Passive?

Father, since when and why have we become so passive?! Have we been like this all this time?

At the beginning of this ministry, I asked long-time ministry leaders and volunteers to share their salvation testimony. Having known them and served alongside them for a decade, I was excited and confident that they would be more than eager to grab the opportunity to share their story beyond their spheres of influence.

Their response was the exact opposite. At first, I was disappointed but as I think about it, I get more confused.

We are part of a local church where the Bible is faithfully preached. We were taught about the Biblical basis and the importance of evangelism and missions, there were a lot of equipping classes and training about evangelism and missions, there are numerous ministries and church activities that allow us to apply what we’ve learned apart from sharing the Gospel and witnessing to our spheres of influence at home, school or work.

I was in a ministry which multiplied from one Bible study group to about a dozen, and it was all because of building relationships and witnessing to friends in the workplace.

So I do not understand where their response is coming from. It’s not that they are unwilling, they’re just busy. Unavailable.

Unavailability is one of our challenges in encouraging others to take part in the different tasks in the ministry or in helping meet the needs of others in the church.

So how come they responded the same way? Do they realize it or are they unaware? Is the task too demanding? Is it because of the unresolved misunderstanding?

Writing one’s salvation testimony is just a one time work, not a lifetime commitment. And this is the testimony we had written and had shared before, I suppose, and we’re commanded and taught to share with others. So I really don’t know what’s the challenge.

After two months of asking people and following up on them, the Lord reminded me of a Bible verse so I moved on and asked Christian friends from other churches instead.

I was surprised they were more than willing and excited to do it. This was God’s affirmation that whatever work done for Him is His work. He planned the content, provides resources, and brings people to contribute. He has firmly and faithfully shown, week after week, that He is in control and will provide for every content He wants written or shared.

An affirmation and reminder that no one is indispensable in God’s work. In the absence, unwillingness or unavailability of one, the Lord will provide another. He will never leave Himself without a witness. Jesus said even the stones would cry out if people keep quiet. And the whole creation speaks of His glory.

Why Have We Become Apathetic?

In August, someone sent a personal testimony that said: While at Bible school, I heard about people around the world really wanting to get to know God but there weren’t enough Christians willing to go.

I’m aware that there is a greater need in other parts of the world, that very few commits to serve as a cross-cultural missionary, and Christians do not share the Gospel more than we ought to. At the same time, I thought most “committed Christians” are ready, willing and available especially for the Gospel, and my experience with believers in my local church is an isolated case.

This statement coming from someone I know who lived on the other side of the world reflects what I have seen this year in this side of our world with regard to witnessing in our Judea and Samaria. This awoke me to the reality of how Christians respond to the Great Commission.

I thought the greater need for the Gospel in other parts of the world was mainly because of their resistance to the Gospel but now I understand it is because very few believers have the heart for the world. But how can we see the need of the ends of the world when we are passive even to the needs of our Judea and Samaria?

It made Jesus’ command in Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2 so true, real, relevant, imperative, urgent, living and active — to beg for laborers to be thrown into the harvest field!

Do a lot of Christians know not only the command but also it’s relevance and the state of the world? And if we are aware, what are we doing about it? Now I understand why missions-minded people are at times frustrated.

Indeed, a Christ-centered theology is a missionary theology.

How, why, and since when did we become so apathetic? Is it because of lack of awareness or lack of heart or both? Do our hearts break what breaks Yours?

How can we be so consumed of our own lives? How can we think only of our own selves, family, career, welfare, and advancement? Sometimes we even take pride of our ministries and programs in the church when we can’t even intentionally and effectively reach out to our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and have forgotten that You also told us to go to the ends of the earth. Jesus, You are the God of the whole world not just of our family and our city!

Who Will Go for Jesus?

Looking back at the pain that happened in the recent years, I now find the reasons for my tears seem so petty compared to the greater need of a quarter of the world population who have yet to hear Jesus’ name for the first time, and the sacrifice and persecution that a handful of missionaries and believers endure for the sake of the Gospel.

If there’s very few who are willing, available, see the need, have the heart, and committed to finishing the Great Commission, then who would do the remaining and still extensive task? Who would go for You, Lord?

Here I am, send me! I want to go, Father, please I beg You to throw me into the harvest! I want to go to a people where no one has heard Jesus’ name, where the Gospel is most needed. I want to share in the suffering of a handful of believers who sacrifice their whole life for the sake of the Gospel. Millions of people have been waiting for 2,000 years. How much longer do they have to wait?! People are dying everyday, there’s no time to waste. The remaining task is still so immense, it cannot be done by only a handful! Throw workers into these unengaged unreached people groups, Father. Throw me!

Have mercy, Father. Have mercy on these people who have yet to hear Your Gospel. Forgive us, Your people, for being apathetic, selfish, and self-centered. Change our hearts, open our eyes to see the great need, enable us to respond the way Jesus responded to our need — with love and compassion for the lost, and remind us that His sacrifice is not exclusive to our family, friends, and community but for the whole world.

Facing A Task Unfinished | Keith & Kristyn Getty

Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known

Where other lords beside Thee
Hold their unhindered sway
Where forces that defied Thee
Defy Thee still today
With none to heed their crying
For life, and love, and light
Unnumbered souls are dying
And pass into the night

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ the Lord

We bear the torch that flaming
Fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming
That Jesus died and rose
Ours is the same commission
The same glad message ours
Fired by the same ambition
To Thee we yield our powers

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ the Lord

O Father who sustained them
O Spirit who inspired
Saviour, whose love constrained them
To toil with zeal untired
From cowardice defend us
From lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us
To labour for Thy sake

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord

We go to all the world
His kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord

A Prodigal Child of God

I am so thankful for this opportunity to share God’s grace in my life.

I am now 45 years old. I was raised in the Faroe Islands, which is in-between Norway and Iceland. Hearing about Jesus Christ and how it is only by grace through faith in Him that we are saved from eternal separation from God, I believed and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 7 years old. I was baptized at 11 because I knew it was the right thing to do. I didn’t understand it all so clearly but I believed what I understood.

When I was a teenager I became more interested in all things that God knew would hurt me, but I chose not to believe Him. I followed my desires, thinking I knew better than God. This led my life away from God and into a sin-filled life: drugs, promiscuity, and living for what I wanted to do. I worked hard and partied hard.

2019. Grandma’s 90th birthday. My parents, my cousin and me.

I moved to England when I was 17 and stayed there until I was 23 years old. But when I moved back to the Faroe Islands, my ‘crazy life’ continued. I even worked on a fishing trawler for two years, which was a rough life but I enjoyed it.

I was almost 30 years old when I saw myself in all the mess I had created and God, in His grace, called me back to Himself. He allowed me to see how far I had wandered away from Him. He offered me a new beginning with Him. I’m so thankful I chose His way and left my own way.

Before my new beginning with God, I had my own plans. I intended to move to Scotland maybe to study but I didn’t find anything there. When God wanted me to follow Him, I didn’t know where to go. I asked Him and He laid in my heart to go to a Bible school to learn about Him. I called a friend who had studied there. After we talked, I decided I would go. The funny thing was, I realized afterward, it was in Scotland. This was such a great gift from God. Praise the Lord!

While at Bible school, I heard about people around the world really wanting to get to know God but there weren’t enough Christians willing to go. I said, “Lord, if you want me to go, I will go.” I had peace about it so I went to England for a year to do mission training. While I was there, there was so much talk about the Philippines and I thought maybe I should go to the Philippines. Again, I had peace about that decision. I didn’t actually know anything about the Philippines back then. But now I know it is so much fun to be there and God knew I’d love it, even before I had seen a jeepney. 😁

And He (Jesus) said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Luke 10:2; Matthew 9:37-38)

After mission training in England, I came to Manila in 2006 with New Tribes Mission. I did some Tagalog study and worked at our Mission Centre for 2 years. Then I moved to Malaybalay City, Bukidnon where I did some Visayan study and again worked at our Mission Center there. I stayed in Malaybalay for 6 years then I moved back to Manila to help in our office and in our Mission Center. All in all, I was in the Philippines for 10 years. For that, I am very thankful. It was more than just fun; I loved it.

Meeting interesting sisters in the Lord in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

I believe God used me in His work while I was in the Philippines and I am forever thankful. He had worked a lot in my personal life. The Philippines was the best place for me to be at that time.

Then I had peace about moving again in 2016. This time I went to Austria, in the middle of the Alps, to study at a Bible Centre. I stayed there for a year. It was like taking a year out to study, enjoy God and nature, be with a lot of Christians, and get refreshed . It really did refresh me. It was amazing.

When that year finished in 2018, I moved back to the Faroe Islands where I now live and work. I work as a building painter and the Lord has even provided me with my own place.

The Lord has been very gracious to me. Though I have not been faithful in all things, He remained faithful to me. He is still working in and thru my life, which is a miracle in itself.

Now it is 2019 and I have been back home for 1,5 years. I am grateful for this opportunity. I had the privilege to visit the Philippines again in February this year and it was of course amazing.

Hanging out again with my good friend, Rajsh, in Manila

I want to say that the Lord is worth waiting for. He said: “I am the LORD; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed” (Isaiah 49:23).

I am the LORD; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed (Isaiah 49:23).

This is an amazing promise that spoke to me again today as I write this, and it helps me to wait on the Lord and hope in Him. And He promised that I will not be disappointed. Our heart’s desire is God Himself first and foremost. He is whom we were created for and our main purpose is to enjoy Him and glorify Him forever.

For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. (Romans 5:10)

My home town, Klaksvík, in the background

Hi! My name is Anja Nielsen, I was born in 1974 in Klaksvík, Faroe Islands. I am an only child but I was never a lonely child. 😊 I was raised hearing about Jesus and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at an early age but I spent most of my life away from God. By His grace, I returned to Him 16 years ago and I praise Him for that.

What my future holds, only the Lord knows. I trust Him fully to guide me, provide for me. And because He has promised that He will never leave me, I know that I will never be alone. That peace and knowledge make me hopeful for my future and I praise the Lord for that.

Life-Changing Encounter with Jesus

Undeserved Love

I lay on my bed as steady stream of tears flowed down my left cheek soaking my hair and pillow underneath. I was alone in my unlit room but I clutched another pillow to my face muffling my sobs. No one else would resolve my problems but I.

As I close my eyes, I found myself alone in a place of infinite darkness. There were no walls around me that I could lean on, no roof above me to provide shelter, and the floor I stood on was hidden from my sight. I had no one to turn to, nothing to hold on to and nowhere to go.

I resigned from an Events and PR company in exchange for a higher-paying job in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. Prior to my resignation, my dad got into an accident and couldn’t work for a few months. I decided to forget having a career in events or in media production. I had hoped for an exciting job but it was also my dream to provide greater comfort for my family, and I figured it may take a long time in a local company.

June 2007, I went to my final appointment with a recruiter. As I scanned the contract, my eyes grew wide when I saw the start of training: August 2007! But I can’t back out now, this is the company I want and the line of business (LOB) I want. I signed it but I was preoccupied with finding a solution on how to fill the two-month gap.

In my ignorance and rigidity, I considered unemployment as incompetence or laziness or both. Even with a definite job waiting for me, it was still unacceptable. I cannot be unproductive for two long months.

Of course, there were a lot of activities that could keep me busy. I could read, study, research, learn a new recipe, a new skill, a new language, etc. One can never run out of things to learn or do.  But it doesn’t change the fact I have two months of unemployment in my résumé!

I searched for a part-time job but found out I needed to commit for at least six months. I had no choice but to wait.

I thought I’d go crazy! Two months of unemployment was like losing what I valued the most – my work – which signifies my usefulness, purpose, value, security, and success.

Having no source of income also defeated my goal of providing for my family. All the emotional and financial stress soon resulted in a conflict with my mom.

Everything I could have held on to and sought after was either gone or distant. For the first time in my life, I experienced how it felt like having nothing. I had nothing I could call my own, I had no one to turn to, nowhere to go and nothing I could do to resolve my problems.

But there’s one last Person I could turn to — Jesus. He had often been my last resort. There was nothing else I could do but pray. I flooded my bed with tears as I recounted all my misery to Him.

I know I had committed a grave sin when I deliberately continued my affair with a married man. My relationship with my family was dysfunctional. Most of all, I was jobless which meant: no achievement, no purpose, no value, no success, no money and I cannot even help my family.

I was alone. Useless. Wretched. Wicked. Worthless. Helpless. Hopeless.

Then, unexpectedly, He spoke to me in a soft and gentle whisper, “I love you.” His voice was not audible yet was very clear.

“But You love me.” I echoed to Him, relishing each word.

After telling Him all my offenses and uselessness, He responded with I love you? Despite my wretchedness, wickedness, and worthlessness, Jesus loves me?!

I never doubted this truth I learned since childhood, but hearing it from Jesus Himself at that moment made it real and relevant in my life. How could He love me even when I was at my lowest and had nothing to offer except my sins?

I remembered those moments in college when I noticed God answering my prayers. His work was evident because they were desperate prayers of a student asking help from Jesus who had often been the last resort. Jesus is the only one who comes to my rescue, even in seemingly impossible situations. He is the only one who has seen every detail of my life and has stood by me in times of grief.

I grew up self-reliant and I find it difficult to ask for help or entrust other people with things I consider important, such as school or work. Other people, even my own family, have their own responsibilities and problems to attend to, so why and how could they help me? I can never tell if others could help me at the time and the way I need help. There were also instances when I desperately asked for help and was disappointed.

So I learned not to expect help from other people with things I consider important.

But Jesus has always been present every moment of my life, I just didn’t acknowledge it because I was too busy directing my own life.

Looking back on everything Jesus has done helped me understand that I needn’t carry my problems by myself. He has proven Himself trustworthy and dependable. It was no longer just a concept or lesson in school, He showed me through my experiences and His evident answers to my prayers that He truly cares for me.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT)

Life-Changing Truths

Jesus used this low point in my life to help me realize that everything I valued in this world, all I have acquired and worked for, everything I do and have achieved, even my knowledge, capabilities and vigor, and everyone I cherish can be taken from me in an instant.

However tightly I hold on to anything or anyone, God is still ultimately in control; the One who gives and takes away. It dawned on me that I cannot define myself with anything in this world because they are all temporal. Once they’re taken from me, they will cease to define me.

After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. (1 Timothy 6:7)

The only thing I can eternally hold on to is Christ’s love which will never be taken from those who truly belong to Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him.

Jesus opened my eyes to see the truth:
who I was — no one
what I had — nothing
what I valued — empty and fleeting
how I lived — sinful
what my condition was — alone and wretched

And there is nothing I can do to save myself from my wretchedness. Jesus is my only hope. He alone can save me.

In my wretchedness, Jesus spoke tenderly to me and told me He loves me. His love for me is not dependent on what I have done (good or bad), nor on what I can do. He doesn’t need anything I can give Him; He is God. He doesn’t love me because I am worthy of His love, I will never ever be worthy, rather He loves me because of who He is.

None is worthy before God. There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

There is nothing in us that would merit salvation. Because everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. His standard is perfect holiness.

When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. This death means punishment with eternal destruction; forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power. Therefore, man is condemned to eternal death and punishment because of sin.

But because of God’s unfailing love for us, He made a way to reconcile us back to Him. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humbled Himself, came into the world, lived a holy life and willingly sacrificed Himself on the Cross as payment for our sins. So that everyone who believes in Jesus and trusts in His sacrifice on the Cross as payment for sins shall have eternal life.

Eternal life through Christ Jesus is a free gift of God. Salvation is not earned by our own effort or merit. It is a free gift by God’s grace (undeserved favor) in response to our faith in Christ. For if keeping the law (following God’s commandments out of our own strength) could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

It was Jesus, not us, who fulfilled God’s requirement for a holy life and He is the only perfect sacrifice given by God to pay the penalty for our sins. It is all achieved by Jesus, not by us. So none of us can boast about it.

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:26)

I planned my activities to fill those two months of unemployment. There were a lot of things I thought of doing, but for reasons I didn’t realize then, I did not do what I would have typically done. I became curious about things I never paid attention to. I was busy with school and then with work, so I didn’t have time to stop and think about life.

Is there more to life than this? Is there more to life than being born, growing up, studying, graduating, working, making money, getting married, raising kids, growing old, then dying? Is that all there is to life? (To be continued next week . . .)

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NLT)

(This story was first published on August 7, 2017. Rewritten in August 2019)

A personal testimony of Ma. Olivia Jill Temporal. Learn more about her on the Author’s page.

Read the whole series about her life story:

Love Is a Decision, Not Just a Feeling

Falling in Love

During summer before our final year in college, we had our On-the-Job-Training (OJT). I met a guy who eventually became my boyfriend. Six months into the relationship he told me he is married. Though I only saw myself being with him for a few months, I was still devastated. I was furious I wanted to hurt him. I was angry at him for lying. I was confused how I got into that situation.

Every night, I cried to Jesus remorseful and ashamed for committing a grave sin. At that time, I thought merely dating a married man already constitutes adultery. I considered it as one of the gravest sins because of the Ten Commandments. I was also afraid I could get imprisoned and would be considered a criminal.

I thought asking forgiveness from God through prayer wasn’t enough. I needed to do something to make amends with Him. So I went to church to participate in the sacrament of confession hoping it would help me find favor from God and be forgiven. It wasn’t easy to confess my sins to a stranger; I was grateful the confessional box provided privacy. After confessing my sins to the priest, he told me to pray three Our Father, three Hail Mary, and three Glory Be. I lingered a few seconds waiting to be counseled, admonished, or even scolded, but that was it. I felt like I was just given a prescription. I followed what I was told but everything felt routinary and void of meaning.

Our relationship went on and off. I wanted to end it but I couldn’t.

Love Is a Decision, Not Just a Feeling

One night, I cried toJesus asking why I couldn’t get out of that sinful relationship. Every direction I took was painful.

I was surprised God answered me right at that moment: “Because you chose to stay.”

This was the first time I heard God’s voice. It wasn’t an audible voice but an answer through reason. I knew it didn’t come from me. I didn’t know the answer and would like to understand, hence I asked. I even thought it may be God’s doing I got into that relationship and continued to stay. In the first place, I didn’t know the guy is married; God knew yet He allowed it to happen. Secondly, I tried so hard to end the relationship but I couldn’t.

But God’s answer made perfect sense! I realized, contrary to what most people say, love is not just a feeling; it’s a decision.

I didn’t “fall in love” like it was out of my control and volition. It didn’t “just happen” as if I couldn’t do anything about it. From the beginning, it had been my choice. I chose to allow that guy to get to know me. I agreed to go out with him. I decided to be in that relationship regardless of what I know or didn’t know. I had the choice to leave or stay regardless of what I felt. And I couldn’t get out of the relationship because I chose to stay. Being faced with difficult or painful choices doesn’t change the fact I have a choice. It was my decision from the beginning.

So I prayed to God, “Jesus, please help me move on even as I stay in the relationship.”

(Word of caution: Choosing to stay in a relationship most probably won’t help in getting out of it. The only way to end it is to end it.)

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

It was my final year in college so I got busier as months passed. After graduation, I was determined to get employed within a week, and God answered that prayer. My primary goal was to be successful in my career in the shortest possible time. And I didn’t want anything or anyone to hinder me from my goals.

I got busier and so did he. Our dates became less frequent but also became more intimate.

He brought me to a motel. “How cheap! What do you think of me?! You think you’d get what you want by bringing me here?!” I said to him, but only in my mind.

The mere act of him bringing me to a motel felt disgusting. It was not only offensive but demeaning and shameful.

I will not do it! It is already a sin having a relationship with him; should I commit further sin by giving myself to him?! And then what? A temporary pleasure with permanent consequences? He’d rob what belongs to my future husband!

But I also couldn’t deny I wanted to be with him. The more he brought me to private places, the less degrading it felt, and the more I longed for him. Allowing him to bring me to these places only meant putting myself in a more difficult situation.

If it were not for God, it would’ve been so easy to follow my sinful desires. God used a lot of reasons to keep me sober. The possibility of getting pregnant is a consequence I never ever want to risk.

So I kept telling myself: Learn from other people’s experiences. Do not allow history to repeat itself; do not allow mistakes from the past to happen again. Remember your goals and aspirations; one mistake can ruin everything. Would you allow an unworthy man to ruin everything you’ve worked hard for? What example are you setting for your siblings? Do the right thing, if not for yourself, at least for your family. One mistake may affect a lot of people, even those yet to be conceived.

On our 3rd year anniversary, I called him to plan for a date. He said he was busy. I wasn’t, so I demanded. But he was firm. I got angry and ended the relationship over the phone.

It was out of whim so I thought it was just one of those temporary break-ups. Days passed, I shed no tear. I did not miss him. I got tired of him, of our situation and of all the emotional roller-coaster. I felt relieved I was finally out of it. So I took that opportunity to completely free myself from him and stay away from him.

True Love is More than a Decision

I realized how easy it is to follow my sinful desires, and how difficult, even impossible, it is to obey God. My own desire, strength, and decision to obey God will never suffice. On my own, I will never be able to adhere to His commandments. Even religious traditions and practices were routinary and void of meaning. None of these brought me out of sin.

Despite my sinfulness, God answered my prayer. He helped me move on by tiring me of my pointless relationship. I was freed from that sin and was prevented from committing further sin not because of my own self-control, determination or sobriety but because of God’s enabling power, faithfulness, grace, and mercy. God’s protection and preservation of me all those years, even up to this moment, made a permanent imprint in my heart because I know it would’ve been so easy for me to commit further sin.

If loving God means keeping His commandments, then it is impossible for me to love God according to His righteous and holy standard out of my own decision alone. It is also impossible for me to truly love others out of my choice alone. There is more to love than emotions and decisions. We cannot truly love God and others without God’s enabling power and grace.

We cannot truly love God and others because of our sinful nature. Man’s nature is centered on self, not on God. The Bible says: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

And when people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. This death means punishment with eternal destruction; forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power. Man is condemned to eternal death and punishment because of sin.

But because of God’s unfailing love for us, He made a way to reconcile us back to Him. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

Eternal life through Christ Jesus is a free gift of God. Salvation is not earned by our own effort or merit. It is a free gift by God’s grace (undeserved favor) in response to our faith in Christ. For if keeping the law (following God’s commandments out of our own strength) could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

It was Jesus, not us, who fulfilled God’s requirement for a holy life and He is the only perfect sacrifice given by God to pay the penalty for our sins. It is all achieved by Jesus, not by us. So none of us can boast about it.

When we repent of our sins and turn to Jesus Christ alone for salvation, He promised to give us a new heart. Only then will we be able to truly love God and others through His power and grace.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

June 2007, a month after God removed me from that sin, He gifted me the greatest love anyone could ever have: an unconditional, faithful, steadfast love that belongs to me for all eternity — knowing Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

During our new product launch event in Puerto Galera, Philippines.

A personal testimony of Ma. Olivia Jill Temporal. Learn more about her on the Author’s page.

Read the whole series about her life story:

Rescued from Rebellion, Shaped for Submission

Rebellion against Authority

All throughout my teenage years, I was rebellious. I was disrespectful and often talked back to my mom and aunt. I challenge the status quo. I defy rules I find unreasonable or irrelevant and follow only those I find beneficial. I did things on my own and made decisions for myself. I became independent and self-sufficient. I do what I want not what adults want or what popular opinion dictates.

When I’m told to do something and I don’t find reason to it, I’d do the exact opposite. My mom suggested me to take an in-demand course to have an opportunity to work abroad and get higher pay. I wasn’t convinced so I chose a completely different field of study. And because I know a lot of Filipinos who want to work or live out of the country, I was adamant in staying. There were times I’d go against the flow for the sake of defying social norms.

Many times I planned to run away from home. But considering the possible consequences, especially in my studies, I resorted to postponing it until I graduated and had my own income.

My best friend. She passed away at 18. I think this is the only picture I have of her.

My rebellious attitude wasn’t apparent because I was studious and goal-oriented. My life revolved only around schoolwork and the most important thing in the world for me was my grades. I prioritized learning and personal development over building relationships. I preferred studying and reading more than spending time with family and friends. I even considered interpersonal skills as the least important skill needed for success. Because of this, I found it difficult to empathize with others.

I was a perfectionist and attentive to details. And I imposed my standards to my family. I easily get angry when things are not orderly or when chores are not done the way I wanted. I was blunt, inconsiderate and insensitive. And I became more assertive when I started working.

During the latter half of college, my usual drive to study waned. One time, my friends and I skipped classes to go out of town. In other occasions, whenever our professor in a boring minor subject was late, a close friend and I would skip class, buy snacks, spread out some university newspapers on the football field, and spend the night having picnic, chatting and stargazing. At the end of the semester, we both got an FA (Failure due to Absences). I had to retake the subject I dislike! What foolishness and lack of foresight.

With high school friends.

Submission to God’s Reign

My rebellion didn’t stop at teen. I’m still very much a sinner. Whenever I sin, I rebel against a holy God.

Rebellion is opposition to authority. The ultimate authority is God, Creator of all the heavens and the earth. The LORD is God, and there is no other; apart from Him there is no God. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.

Rebellion is against God’s rule and control over all things. Man always resists God’s rule because he wants to rule over himself. Man wants to be his own god and be able to do what seems right in his own eyes. He wants to be free to do everything he desires without accountability to the Creator and His laws. This is the fallenness of every man, not wanting to submit to God’s will but following one’s own desires. This is man’s rebellion.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2)

Whenever we choose to take control of our own lives, we do what we think is right and best for us and fail to realize that our knowledge is limited and what we see is only here and now. We fail to recognize the truth that the Lord is God. He alone is sovereign and all-knowing. He knows infinitely more than what we know and sees from beginning to end. Therefore, the only wise thing to do is to have Him take control of our lives.  His plans for us are for our welfare and not for evil.

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:6-7)

With college friends.

Power in Meekness

After graduation, I soon found myself in the corporate world. My character in youth molded me into young adulthood and I brought with me those characteristics I thought would be helpful for my career advancement. I was driven and didn’t want anything to hinder me from achieving my goals.

The first time I got employed in a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company, we had a Communications and Culture Trainer whose character made a significant impact on how I view Christianity.

He introduced himself as a Christian. He didn’t share a lot about his religion, I don’t know whether religion and politics were prohibited topics, but he often shared his life story.

He shared his life prior to being a Christian. He told us about the sins he committed especially to his wife and his family. He told us how he lived his life before. It was quite surprising and unbelievable to hear. First, he doesn’t know us personally and would train us only for a few weeks yet he entrusted us with his life story. Second, he was our superior yet he presented himself in meekness and vulnerability by sharing even the sins he committed. Third, what made the most impact on me was the man he was talking about was a completely different person! The man he described was vile but the person talking to us was gentle, kind, humble, considerate and unpretentious.

He also told us about his son Mark Welson Chua. He was a student of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) who was brutally murdered for exposing anomalies in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) unit of the university. I think it was all over the news when it happened although I first heard it from our trainer. He never spoke any grievances toward anyone or any institution. He only recounted the events of his son’s death. There’s a video on YouTube about this news and in the interview, his wife questioned Welson why he hugged one of the convicted murderers of his son and forgave him. The offender also couldn’t believe he was forgiven by Mark’s father.

I remember the time when we visited Welson at the hospital a month after our training. We saw him standing in the hallway. Everyone immediately went to him, greeted him, hugged him, comforted him. I didn’t know how to comfort a sick person. I didn’t know what to say, what to do or how to empathize so I stood a few steps away looking at him. In my heart, I was sorry for him and I sincerely hoped and prayed for his healing and recovery but I didn’t know how to tell him.

When he noticed I just stood there, he approached me, quickly hugged me and patted me at the back. Oh my gosh! I was embarrassed and amazed at the same time! He was sick yet he was still thinking of other people? For most, my action would have been taken as apathy but he responded with concern and humility despite his condition. He did for me what I was supposed to do for him!

Small acts of kindness from a sincere heart goes a long way.

I’m unsure whether we were his last batch of trainees because he didn’t recover from his sickness and passed away three months after our training.

With Welson, our trainer, and fellow trainees.

Prior to this, I often hear people describing Christians as the “Alive, Alive” group. On Sundays, we’d hear them sing in the covered court of our subdivision and I’d picture them singing and dancing “Alive, Alive” with hands raised, swaying from side to side to the beat of the music. 

Before my maternal grandmother passed away, she sternly warned me not to change religion. This confused me because of the timing of her advice and also because it had never crossed my mind. There was no reason for me to change religion.

It was because of our trainer’s life story and character that made me view Christianity differently. It made me consider that they may have reliable character contrary to what others say and therefore may have valid claims in their beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Bible. Almost 2 years later, this paved the way for me to ask questions and seek help from Christians.

daddy A's farewell_jpegfile
XM batch 3.2. Convergys Philippines

By God’s Grace Alone

There’s a popular Tagalog song in the ’90s that says: “Gusto kong bumait pero diko magawa.” I want to be good but I can’t, which implies difficulty in achieving it.

It is indeed impossible to be good in God’s standard on our own strength. I don’t think our trainer had a complete change of character out of his own discipline and willpower. I’ve met and talked to a lot of religious leaders in school and in church but his gentleness and kindness was different; he was sincere.

It isn’t in man’s nature to be good. On the contrary, it is in man’s nature to sin and rebel against God.

The Bible says: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

And when people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. This death means punishment with eternal destruction; forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power. Man is condemned to eternal death and punishment because of sin.

But because of God’s unfailing love for us, He made a way to reconcile us back to Him. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humbled Himself, came into the world, lived a holy life and willingly sacrificed Himself on the Cross as payment for our sins. So that everyone who believes in Jesus and trusts in His sacrifice on the Cross as payment for sins shall have eternal life.

We cannot save ourselves by being good because God’s standard is perfect holiness and that is fulfilled by Jesus Christ alone. It is for this reason that Christ came into the world. For if keeping the law (following God’s commandments out of our own strength) could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. 

Therefore, a person’s obedience to God is only because of God’s grace not because of one’s own goodness or willpower.

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Rescued from Rebellion, Shaped for Submission
With college friends.

A personal testimony of Ma. Olivia Jill Temporal. Learn more about her on the Author’s page.

Read the whole series about her life story:

A Child’s Thanksgiving

Created for a Purpose

When I was a new Christian, a friend lent me her book “A Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Reading a devotional was very useful when I didn’t know how to study the Bible. This helped me understand Biblical truths that were too complicated for me to chew by myself.

An excerpt of Day 2 devotional says:

I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born (Isaiah 44:2a – CEV).
You are not an accident.
Your birth was no mistake. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did.

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. You are alive because God wanted to create you! “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8a NIV).

Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!” (Psalm 139:16 LB).

God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose.

Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It’s all for a purpose.

God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children. Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are not unplanned by God. God’s purpose took into account human error, and even sin.

God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every person was designed with a purpose in mind. God’s motive for creating you was his love.

I didn’t know I needed to hear these words from God. His gentle reassuring words resonated in my heart and comforted my soul. His Word healed a wound I never thought was there.

I am the only child of my parents. I didn’t ask but I knew they didn’t plan or expect me. I cannot say I was unwanted because of the love, care, attention, and provision they lavished on me. But I was conceived out of sin and was born as a consequence of it.

We were taught in school and in the church that God is love. But we were also taught that God hates sin. So I wasn’t aware that in my heart I thought God loves me because I was already born and He had no choice. It’s not like He planned for man to sin so children would be born. And if my parents obeyed God and didn’t sin, I wouldn’t be born. So how could He have loved me before the world began yet hate the reason I was conceived? I didn’t know that because of the complexity of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will, I felt I was only an afterthought for God. But His message to me during my personal time with Him allowed me to understand that in His providence, He makes everything work out according to His plan. Nothing happens apart from His will.

With my mom, aunt and siblings.

Abundance of Love

From the day I was conceived, my dad provided for all my needs. He frequently visited us and took care of me. He never failed to provide for me until I was 3 years old when my mom decided to end the relationship and cease all the communication and provision. That was the only memory I had of my dad — from stories. I was 13 years old when they told me that one of my godfathers is actually my biological father.

After ending the relationship with my dad, my mom eventually met my stepfather and they got married. Soon my siblings were born. When our youngest brother was still a few months old, our dad went to work in another country to provide for us. He kept constant communication with us. He would often send photos, postcards, letters and calls us during weekends. My mom also sent him photos of us, letters and recorded messages on cassette tapes. But we were like most children of distant parents: either we don’t have anything to say or we don’t know what to say; so our messages and phone conversations with him were short.

My mom worked in a government institution in Manila. Since we were living in Laguna, she had to leave early in the morning and often comes home after our bedtime. So during weekdays we’d sometimes see her a few minutes before she leaves for work. Our grandmother and aunts took care of us and attended to our daily school activities.

So the Lord has given me 3 fathers, a mom, and 3 motherly figure who took care of us. I have my biological father, stepfather and my adoptive heavenly Father. We have our mom, grandmother and 2 aunts. God showed His love and care for us through them

Our paternal grandparents and relatives in Iloilo. Our grandfather is at the top center wearing a blue polo and our grandmother is sitting down wearing a green polka dot dress.

Life Stories of Old

Growing up, adults in the family often tell us stories of their childhood. I find them interesting because their experiences were very different from ours. Their life, as they described it, was difficult yet fun. Telling us their story was their way of teaching us the realities of life we were unfamiliar to and showing us the importance of education, hard work, perseverance, and determination.

Our grandparents were hardworking and persevering, and they instilled these values to their children. At a very young age, our mom and her older siblings had to do all household chores and take care of their younger siblings while our grandparents work on the farm. They were trained to do their tasks swiftly. They had to wake up early to get to school on time since it’s of significant distance and they travel only on foot; at times they’d walk barefooted because they didn’t want their slippers to get worn out or soiled with mud. Even on weekends, they can’t be seen sleeping or still lying down when the sun has risen. Sometimes they’d help tend their farm animals, and plant or harvest crops.

When they had to leave the farmlands, their life became more difficult. There were times when they had nothing to eat. They’d go to school with only hot water for breakfast and hope that our grandparents would bring them something to eat for lunch.

When my mom graduated in high school, they immediately moved to Manila to work and study. They got employed in various kinds of jobs to support themselves, their studies and our grandparents.

A Child's Thanksgiving
Our maternal grandparents

Despite all their hardships, I never heard my mom and her siblings complain or speak ill of our grandparents. Instead, I only hear their fondness of them. My mom is grateful that, though provision may sometimes be lacking, our grandparents’ support for them had been abundant.

If they had all their basic needs, they may not have hoped for a better life. If they had owned even a small land in the province, they may not have gone to Manila and pursued a college degree. Their hardships fueled them to persevere. They’re grateful for everything they went through because these brought them to where they are now. And without their determination, we also wouldn’t be where we are now.

Fruit of Perseverance

The blessings we have received were not because of our hard work and perseverance but because of our parents and grandparents’. We have been enjoying the fruit of their perseverance.

We were brought up in a comfortable and sheltered life. We never experienced having nothing to eat; we were provided meals according to our preferences and were even brought freshly cooked lunch in school. I needn’t watch over my younger siblings because they each had their own nanny. We were never required to do household chores because we had helper/s until I was 29. We never went to school barefooted because all our needs and even wants were well-provided for. We never experienced going to school on foot, except when it was just in our neighborhood, because either our aunt or uncle drives us to school. When I was in first year college, they even thought I’d get lost going to Manila because I only learned to ride public transport when I was in high school. We weren’t allowed to work until we graduated. We never lacked anything.

They not only supplied our every need but also provided us comfort and convenience, not to mention all the support they have given us. This was how they showed their love and care for us. They didn’t want us to experience the hardships they went through so they gave us what they would have wanted for themselves.

6 out of 7 siblings. My mom, uncles, aunts and their spouses. Their youngest sister passed on years ago.

The life I’m living now, rescued from a life of chasing after the wind, without fear of death, and certain of eternity, is also a fruit of another Person’s perseverance, sacrifice and unconditional love — Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God but He did not think that His being equal with God was something to use for His own benefit. Instead, He gave up everything, even His place with God. He took the humble position of a servant and was born as a human being. During His life as a man, He humbled Himself by being fully obedient to God. He lived a holy life and willingly sacrificed Himself on the Cross as payment for our sins so that everyone who trusts in the finished work of Christ alone shall not perish but have eternal life. He did this not because we are good or worth saving but only because of His love and mercy.

The Bible says: Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. And when people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. Eternal separation from God and eternal punishment is the penalty of sin. It is for this reason that Christ came into the world. For if keeping the law (following God’s commandments out of our own strength) could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. We cannot save ourselves by being good because God’s standard is perfect holiness and that is fulfilled by Jesus Christ alone. So that everyone who believes in Jesus and trusts in His sacrifice on the Cross as payment for sins shall have eternal life.

A Child’s Thanksgiving

A Child's Thanksgiving
A photo taken by my biological dad 30 years after he last saw me.

Whenever I think about God’s faithfulness in my life, I can’t help but remember everything God has done in our family, beginning from my grandparents. My grandmother almost died when she was pregnant with my mom. My parents didn’t plan about me but God foreknew and created me for His purpose. He has been protecting and blessing my family, He gave me an opportunity to live and now He even adopted me so I can be called His child. How gracious are You, Lord? Thanksgiving is even a pitiful response for everything You have done.

This is how You have been taking care of me. You have placed me in a family to be my shelter, to protect, love and care for me. This is how You have loved me, this how You fathered me. You sheltered me, protected, cared for, loved, provided for and sustained me. You never missed a single moment. You are always present every second of my life. You are my Parent who cherished me as a child. You said, “I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you.” (Isaiah 46:3-4 NCV). How sweet are You, Lord?

Who am I that the Lord of all the earth, Creator of the universe, majestic and all-powerful God would be mindful of me? I’m just a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes! Yet You chose me and called me Your own.

Because of Your unfailing love and faithfulness, there’s no other fitting response but to serve the purpose of my existence, to be how You intended me to be and do exactly what You purposed me to do. And that is to know You more intimately each day and to proclaim Your Name to all the earth so that others too may know of Your greatness and bring You glory! You have created us in Your image, and Christ’s sacrifice is for us to be reconciled back to You and be conformed to His image.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

A Child's Thanksgiving

A personal testimony of Ma. Olivia Jill Temporal. Learn more about her on the Author’s page.

Read the whole series about her life story:

Proclaiming God's glory through life story.

%d bloggers like this: